XL Popcorn – 1001 Movies 2020 Update

Usually when the 1001 movies list has an update, I quietly amend the page and change some numbers here and there. However, in the 2020 update (which happened yesterday as I write this) there have been some changes. Rather than just the usual swapping in and out, the list has also increased the films on the list by pairing The Avengers: Endgame with Infinity War and by making the Toy Story trilogy a quartet.

So now that the list is out of 1009, and as I really do not want to have to change a lot of numbers on blog posts, this post is for the films I have not written about that are now on the list.

Title: Toy Story 4
Director: Josh Cooley
Year: 2019
Country: USA

I honestly do not understand why the list opted to make Toy Story 4 an entry on the list as part of a quartet. As much as I liked the film, this is not one of Pixar’s best. Also, I don’t think you can make any argument that this is a properly realised film quartet – hell it was a stretch to have the first three as a trilogy.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Toy Story 4 when I saw it in the cinema. I liked how they finally put the series to bed properly so they cannot be strong-armed into making more. However, when I think of other Pixar films that have come out since – like Inside Out, Wall-E and Ratatouille – that are denied places on the list because of the mass of Toy Storys, it makes me a bit sad.

Title: The Farewell
Director: Lulu Wang
Year: 2019
Country: USA

The Farewell was my second favourite film of 2019 (behind Parasite) so I am thrilled to see this as an entry. This was one of those films that really was a delayed emotional gut punch; one that hit me as I was crossing the road outside the cinema and suddenly I started to really cry.

The fact that this was completely shut out of the Oscars is a complete mystery to me, especially looking back on some of the Best Picture nominees. This story about a Chinese-American women returning to China in order to say goodbye to her grandma who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer is a beautiful, funny, thought-provoking and emotional journey without too many obvious grabs at the heartstrings. I hope this gets to stay on the list for a while.

Title: Booksmart
Director: Olivia Wilde
Year: 2019
Country: USA

Booksmart is one of those films that I saw on the plane en route to Hong Kong. It was something I put on after I had slept on the plane, thinking that this would be one of those films where it wouldn’t matter too much if I was a bit groggy. After all, this is just another teen comedy that had got half decent reviews.

Firstly, the reviews were raves – not half decent. Secondly, I absolutely loved this film. Yes it is a teen comedy, but it is one of those rare teen comedies that is smart, well-written and yet also completely ridiculous. Cannot wait to see what Olivia Wilde does next as a director.

Title: Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (Portrait of a Lady on Fire)
Director: Céline Sciamma
Year: 2019
Country: France

Ending with the film that was a good friend of mine’s favourite and one where I managed to successfully torture my friend because I didn’t give it a perfect 10/10 rating on Letterboxd. I mean I thought it was really good, but it takes a lot for me to give a film a perfect rating on the first watch – so I ended up giving this a 9. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a French film about the making of a painting.

This is the second of the three new foreign language entries on the 1001 list that I have seen. It’s one of those films that I was pleasantly surprised to see featured amongst the new entries, especially as France decided to not submit this for the Oscars (which did work out as their choice did make the final five), but this definitely has a place as a female-directed film about a developing love between two women which has no interest in the male gaze.

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 851/1009


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